Monday, December 4, 2017

Straight Chatting from the Library: Boni Wagner-Stafford

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Boni Wagner-Stafford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

Ah, there were many. If I had to pick one, it would be Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn. I was 10 or 11 when I read it, and while the main story is about the racial tensions when a white woman loves a black man, I remember being awed by the potential, force and strength of a strong, true love. I also learned about “patting my skin dry” after a shower, rather than rubbing myself with a towel. It was a practice I picked up from that book, adopted as my own, and I still think about that book as I’m towelling off after every shower!

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Rock Your Business helps those wanting to start a small business

What are you reading right now?

I have several books on the go at any one time. Some of them are manuscripts I’m reviewing on behalf of author clients for my hybrid publishing company, Ingenium Books. I’m always reading books related to writing, publishing, and book marketing. And, I’m reading several that serve as research for books I’m writing. Then there’s the reading I do for fun: great narrative nonfiction, and every now and again I just love a good thriller.

E-Reader or print? and why?

E-reader! Because I live on my sailboat and do not have room for the growing volume of books I would need to keep around.

Favorite book you've read this year?

Red Notice. Bill Browder has written a very compelling account of his time in Russia as a financier, and what he discovered about corruption and murder. Browder’s friend Sergei Magnitsky was falsely accused, then beaten and murdered in 2009 after he tried to blow the whistle on fraud involving Russian tax officials. I also love that Browder has leveraged the book into international political action: countries including Canada are debating or passing legislation, often bearing the name “Magnitsky”, designed to restrict those thought to be responsible for the death of Magnitsky from entering the country and/or from using its banking system.

When do you do most of your reading?

I read all the time! I read for work all day… and I read for pleasure just before bed.

Keep books or give them away?

Both! I keep all books on my e-reader. Most of the physical books I acquire I end up giving away or donating once I’ve read them.

What would make you not finish a book?

Unless it’s something I have to read for my work with Ingenium Books, I do not ascribe to the philosophy that I must finish every book I start. If a book isn’t serving my needs, or my interest, or if it is poorly written and edited with multiple errors… I don’t bother to waste my time. There are so many excellent books out there – why would I struggle through a book that doesn’t work for me?


Rock Your Business is a book for those just starting out with a small business... or those considering starting a business. Told from those that have been there.

Let’s talk about the differences – and the similarities – between the iPro, the freelancer, the self-employed, and the small business entrepreneur. Which one(s) are you?


These independent professionals are individuals who are highly skilled, work for themselves, and do not employ others. They typically function in the rapid-paced knowledge economy and are a distinct group: they are classified neither as small business nor as entrepreneurs.


Today’s freelancers may or may not be highly educated or highly skilled, but will provide their services to others independent of an employer. They may also contract pieces of work outside their skill set such as web design, bookkeeping, etcetera, to other freelancers or iPros. A freelancer likely won't have a business name registered with the relevant government body, and will likely file taxes as an individual while claiming some business expenses.


Those who are self-employed likely have a sole proprietorship or simple partnership business registered in order to add credibility and assist marketing efforts. Rarely will the self- employed hire others to work in the business, except for the service providers mentioned above.

Small Business Entrepreneur

These go-getters are tuned into market trends and gaps and work to capitalize on being first-to-market with a new idea, product, service, or technology. We would argue that some small business ventures are run by the self-employed and some self-employed people run small businesses. A small business that is incorporated becomes its own legal entity. And the entrepreneurs who run these incorporated small businesses are technically not self-employed; they are employed by the corporations they created.

The Small Business Numbers

In Canada, a small business is technically defined as having fewer than 100 employees. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a small business as having fewer than 20 employees. In the U.K. it’s considered a small or medium- sized business if it has 250 or fewer employees. Depending on how you look at things in the U.S., 99.7 per cent of all firms classify as small business. But that’s because the U.S. has an overly complicated classification system that changes the definition of small business industry by industry. It could have 500, 1000 or 1500 employees and still be considered a small business. Yeesh.

What these independent activists – freelancer, iPro, small business owner or entrepreneur – have in common is that they are running businesses. Size doesn’t matter for that definition.

Entrepreneurs start businesses hoping they’ll grow into the next Facebook. Small business owners work to provide a decent living and lifestyle for themselves and their families. Freelancers and iPros want the freedom to do the work they love for clients who appreciate their talents.

All of them are running businesses. They are all relatively solo endeavours, where there often isn't much time to connect with others who are working out the same kinks and learning the same tricks.

Regardless which category yours falls into, you bill clients directly, manage your own startup and sales and marketing and productivity and hiring and taxes and technology and... well, everything.

In addition to being awesome at what you do for clients, you must also become a quick study in the details of your business. It can be helpful to hear and read the stories of others... perhaps just before bed, where the ideas can percolate into your subconscious while you sleep, readying you to reach greater heights tomorrow.


Boni Wagner-Stafford is a full-time writer, ghostwriter, editor, and author. Boni's writing has helped other authors, business leaders and coaches thrive.

For more than 10 years Boni was with the Ontario government. She held a number of senior communications and management roles. She worked on 5 consecutive Ontario budget documents. Most noteworthy is the 2008 Ontario Budget for which Boni was managing editor. She also played key editorial management roles in government reports such as Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. While in senior management Boni led teams that managed strategic communications for files such as securities regulation, auto insurance, tax reform, credit union and real estate legislative reform and tourism industry modernization.

Boni also worked for 15 years as a television reporter. She was also a news anchor and a producer. As a journalist, she worked under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray (Globe and Mail story about the names here). Boni’s stories spanned politics, government, crime, health, environmental and social issues. Her work won several awards.

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  1. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. I've enjoyed following the tour for Rock Your Business and I'm looking forward to reading the book!